Archive for the ‘Brownies’ Category


Tuesdays with Dorie: Bittersweet Brownies

November 15, 2011

I’ve made quite a few brownie recipes with the Tuesdays with Dorie group, and a few more on my own. I’m not going to scientifically rank them all, but I will say that these brownies are at the top of my list!

Chocolatey (of course), and tender with a crackly crust. Perfect with a cappuccino!

Thank you Leslie for this great selection! Leslie is a chocolate lover extraordinaire, so it’s fitting that she is hosting this recipe. Since TWD is coming to an end, the group is doubling up on recipes in November. The other recipe for this week, which unfortunately I didn’t get around to making, is Alsatian Apple Tart, selected by Jessica of Cookbookhabit. Be sure to check out her blog today if you want to know more about the tart.

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe in an 8″ square pan.
  • I used Jacques Torres 60% chocolate disks. Sadly, my discs are almost gone; I’ll be buying more though, because everything that I baked using this chocolate turned out wonderful!
  • I added the optional espresso powder, which enhanced the chocolate, but didn’t give them a coffee flavor.
  • I think I baked these for 22 minutes.

How it went: I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave instead of on the stove, which I think is quicker and easier than doing it on the stove, though it’s important to go slowly and keep an eye on it. They were quick and easy to mix up, and pretty quick to bake. And they got a thin, crackly crust on top just like they were supposed to!

How it tasted: I really liked the taste and texture of these. They’re soft and tender, but not crumbly. They melt in your mouth! No nuts, chunks, or other flavorings; just delicious chocolate. My husband declared them “silky smooth.” I also gave some to our neighbor – he was helping to relocate a pile of dirt one day and he said “you owe me some vittles.” I know he likes brownies, so these had his name on them.

Want to give these a whirl? Open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 90, or head over to Lethally Delicious to take a look at the recipe and see how Leslie’s brownies turned out.

I’ve got a lot going on in November! I’ve scheduled a few posts, but I won’t be getting around to everyone’s blogs this  month. I’ll catch up with you in December!


Dulce de Leche Brownies and Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

September 3, 2011

Today’s post is two-for-one: two recipes that I had been wanting to make for a long time, and I made them both the same day! I needed to bring something to work, and have some kind of affliction where I cannot bring just one thing. What if that one thing is something that someone doesn’t like? Better to have some variety, I say. I made both of these a day in advance and chilled them overnight to make cutting into pieces (my least-favorite task) easier.

Chocolate is popular with most people, so I decided to make David Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche Brownies. I first saw the recipe in The Sweet Life, but he also has it here on his blog. I am quite smitten with Mr. Lebovitz as of late. Not only because his recipes are delicious, but because he provides measurements in grams. Grams! It’s so much easier to weigh than to measure, and I feel extra-precise when I set the scale to grams.

Use good chocolate in these. They’re dense and fudgy, with pockets of soft dulce de leche throughout.

Recipe notes:

  • I used Jacques Torres 60% chocolate.
  • I was going to make my own dulce de leche, but the grocery store had cans of it for the same price as sweetened condensed milk, so I bought that instead. The store-bought was really thick and difficult to swirl into the batter. Next time, I’d warm it just a tiny bit so it’s softer and easier to swirl.
  • These are sticky, but in a good way! I should have served them in muffin cups to make them easier to pick up.

Next up are the Barefoot Contessa’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars. I saw her make these on her show ages ago and never forgot about them. Now that I’ve eaten them, I’m definitely never going to forget about them!

These are oh-so-tender and they melt in your mouth; better than the standard cookie bar or peanut butter blondie-type thing that I was expecting. Don’t skip the chopped peanuts on top. If I’ve learned anything from Top Chef Just Desserts, it’s that you better have textural contrast to impress the judges. These are soft and tender, and the peanuts on top add a nice crunch and little kick of salt.

I don’t have a cross-section photo, but people thought it was neat that the bars look like a sandwich, with a layer of jelly in the middle. Someone said “I’d eat this instead of a peanut butter sandwich.” That would be pretty decadent, but tasty. You can get the recipe here on the Food Network site.

Recipe notes:

  • I used seedless raspberry jam.
  • As with the brownies, I should have served them in muffin cups for easier, neater serving.
  • This makes a big pan of bars; perfect for a crowd.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Brrrr-ownies

July 13, 2010

What’s a Brrrr-ownie? A mint brownie, of course! Specifically, it’s a rich, fudgy brownie packed with chocolate-covered mints, and it’s what Karen selected for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers this week.

What I did:

  • I made 1/2 recipe and baked it in a 6″ round pan.
  • I used Junior Mints instead of York Peppermint Patties. Yes, I know that Dorie goes on at length about York Peppermint Patties; I used Junior Mints because they came in a 4oz package, which was just 1 oz more than I needed for my 1/2 recipe. We ate a few and the rest went in the brownies.
  • I baked my small pan for about 28 minutes.

Do you remember the Junior Mint episode of Seinfeld?

How it went: Aside from some chocolate chopping, which isn’t my favorite task, these were easy to put together. I lined the pan with foil and buttered it, but they still stuck to the foil! I could peel it off from the sides easily, but the bottom was pretty well stuck. Not baked-on stuck, but sticky-stuck. I don’t know for sure, but it seems like the melted candy made these extra-sticky.

How it tasted: My husband summed it up in a word: decadent. These were fudgy and delicious, and minty without being overpowering. But they were so darn sticky. I put half of them in the freezer to be chopped up and added to vanilla ice cream…I think they’ll be quite happy there!

Want the recipe? Look on page 103 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or go to Karen’s blog, Welcome to Our Crazy Blessed Life; she’ll have the recipe published today.


Tuesdays with Dorie: White Chocolate Brownies

June 1, 2010

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection has been the subject of a lot of hoopla since at least last December, when Clara launched a campaign for the group to make White Chocolate Brownies. At long last, the recipe was selected by Marthe, who bakes her treats in the Netherlands.

White Chocolate Brownie

What I did:

  • I made 1/4 of the recipe in a 6″ round pan. And let me take a moment to say how handy it is to have 6″ round pans! I use them all the time when I’m reducing the size of a recipe.
  • I used frozen raspberries, still frozen.
  • I skipped the meringue topping. Meringue is one of those “it depends” kind of things for me, and this seemed like the kind of thing I wouldn’t enjoy it on.

How it went: This was easy enough to put together. A lot of bakers commented that they had to bake these a lot longer than stated in the recipe. Since I was making a small pan, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I started checking at 20 minutes and ended up baking it for 33 minutes, plus I increased the oven temperature by 25° for the last 8 minutes.

How it tasted: We both thought this was just OK. I thought this was much more like a cake than a brownie. My husband said he would like more raspberries. Maybe they needed the meringue, or something to replace the meringue? Maybe I should have made the optional raspberry coulis? Maybe I should have put a big ole scoop of ice cream on top?

Marthe will have the recipe posted today on her blog, Culinary Delights. You can also look on page 110 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. And for a little more (or a lot more) enthusiasm than I’m able to muster, check out what Clara has to say about this recipe!


Tuesdays with Dorie: Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia

February 9, 2010

Since July 2009, I have made six kinds of brownies, plus one bonus dessert using some brownies I had stashed in the freezer. (You can see the other five plus my brownie Baked Alaska here in my brownie category.) That’s a lot of brownies for me. Brownie number six is courtesy of Tanya from Chocolatechic. With a blog name like that, it was quite obvious that she’d select a chocolate recipe for us! In the book, Dorie explains that when she and Rick Katz were working on the set of the TV show Baking with Julia, Katz would bake goodies for them, including these brownies. She doesn’t say if Julia Child liked the brownies, but I bet that she did.

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe and baked it in a 9.25″ x 5.25″ loaf pan.
  • I used Baker’s unsweetened chocolate and Guittard 61% chocolate.

How it went: This recipe has an extra step or two than most other brownie recipes, notably beating half of the eggs and sugar and then folding them into the rest of the liquid ingredients. It was still easy to put together though. Even with the smaller pan, I baked these for the full amount of time. When the top looked dry, I took the pan out of the oven.

How it tasted: Super-chocolaty and really delicious! These had the perfect balance of sweetness and chocolate flavor for me. I didn’t try one with coffee, but I think it would be a perfect accompaniment. I thought these were a bit too soft, but they didn’t seem underbaked, and Dorie describes them as “surprisingly creamy, soft, and definitively fudgy,” so I think that’s just how they’re supposed to be. My husband ate one and declared it one of the best brownies he’d ever had. When I asked him to elaborate, he said that sometimes the brownie crust and brownie inside taste different, but with these, the good flavor was throughout. He also liked that they were moist but not overly dense. He really liked the Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies, but in a head-to-head competition, I think these would win.

Would I make these again?: Yes. With all the brownies I’ve made since last July, I’ve discovered that my husband likes brownies a lot. Since he liked these so much, I think these will make an encore appearance in our kitchen! If you want to give these a spin, check Chocolatechic’s blog, or open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 91.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte

October 27, 2009

How does a fudgy brownie, studded with dried cherries and chocolate chunks and topped with a layer of cream cheese-mascarpone mousse sound? It sounded pretty good to me, and it tasted even better!


This Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte is the recipe baked by the Tuesdays with Dorie group this week. Thanks go to April of Short + Rose for selecting this week’s recipe! She’ll have the recipe posted on her site, or open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 284.

What I did:

  • I made 1/4 of the recipe. I often cut recipes in half, but hesitated to cut them down further because I didn’t know if they’d turn out. Thanks go to Megan, who gave me some tips and courage to reduce my recipes!
  • I baked the brownie layer in two 4.5″ springform pans. I thought that my small amount would be enough for just one of the mini pans, but there was a lot of batter. Both pans were filled about halfway before baking.
  • I did not add the black pepper to the brownie layer.
  • I used blackberry fruit spread instead of cherry preserves. I needed such a tiny amount of preserves and didn’t want to buy a whole jar.

Side note: I bought two mini springform pans and this was my first time using them. So far they’re great! I’m glad I had the right kind of pan and didn’t try to make do with another type of pan.


How it went: I was concerned that I’d have trouble with my small amounts, but aside from getting a large amount of dishes dirty, this went smoothly. I would also like to note that I actually bought real cream to use in the mousse. I usually avoid the cream, but after a few recipes that didn’t turn out great, I decided to just deal with it and use the cream!

How it tasted: I’m in love with the brownie layer! It’s oh-so-fudgy and the chocolate bits make it even better. And the mousse on top is the icing on the cake, so to speak. It’s a delicious, creamy layer that is a great accompaniment to the brownie layer. My husband really liked this and couldn’t stop talking about the fabulous mousse on top. He did say he’d prefer it without the cherries. That’s fine with me; I could go either way with the cherries.

Would I make this again?: Yes; I’d make this but without the cherries. I’d also make just the brownie part, either to eat as-is, or to use in another brownie-based recipe.


Baked Alaska

September 8, 2009

Why Baked Alaska? My husband mentioned it a few times, so I asked him what the deal was with Baked Alaska. Was he dying to have some? His response was “I know it’s hard to make.” Those are fighting words! Neither of us had ever eaten it, and I don’t think he knew what it was, but I knew I was up to the challenge. And the really fun part is that as you read this, we are in Alaska! It was fun to eat Baked Alaska while planning our trip to Alaska.

I did some research in cookbooks and online and found that there are a lot of interpretations of this classic dessert.  I decided to make two individual-sized servings. These have a brownie base and chocolate peanut butter ice cream: one of the tips I found when researching is that you want an ice cream that will contrast the color of the meringue. This was also an opportunity to use a couple of things I was planning to make anyway, and to use some egg whites that I had in the freezer. So although there are a lot of components to this dessert, it wasn’t too much work to make it.


The components:

  • For the base, I used a brownie baked in a standard-size muffin pan. When I made Brownie Buttons for Tuesdays With Dorie, I baked a few in my regular muffin pan, left the white chocolate off, and stashed them in the freezer. You could also use cake or a brownie cut into a circle about the same size as a scoop of ice cream.
  • For the ice cream, I used this Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.
  • For the meringue, I whipped three egg whites with 1/3 cup sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. If you have a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours, look at the meringue tips on page 400. I used a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whipped the whites and salt on high speed for a couple of minutes, then added the sugar slowly. I stopped when the meringue was smooth and glossy and pretty stiff: if you can flip the whisk attachment upside down and the meringue holds a peak, it’s ready. Three egg whites was more than I needed for two servings, but I baked the extra meringue to use in another recipe. Two egg whites should be more than enough for two servings. [Note: the meringue doesn’t bake for long, so standard warnings about egg whites apply. If you have any concerns about eating an undercooked egg, use pasteurized eggs or buy egg white powder.]

The assembly:

  • Put the brownie base on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put one scoop of ice cream on each brownie. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (overnight is fine too).
  • After the brownies and ice cream have been in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, make the meringue. If you want to pipe the meringue like I did, put it in a pastry bag with a large star tip.
  • Move the oven rack to the lowest position and start the oven heating to 500 degrees F. Take the baking sheet out of the freezer and either pipe the meringue on or spread it on with a knife, making swirls and peaks. Be sure to cover the entire brownie and ice cream. Put the baking sheet back in the freezer until the oven is up to temperature.
    Here’s a Baked Alaska ready to go into the oven.


  • When the oven is heated, take the baking sheet out of the freezer and put it in the oven. Stand there and watch it; it will brown quickly. When it’s browned but not burned, take it out. Serve immediately: if you want to do any fancy plating (which I didn’t!) have it queued up ahead of time. Or do what I did – I made my husband come into the kitchen just in case the Baked Alaska didn’t make it to the plate in one piece (although it did).

Enjoy! This was a fun treat to make, and if you have the brownie (or cake) and ice cream ready to go, you just have to do some last-minute meringue making and baking.


Tuesdays w/Dorie: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

September 1, 2009

Last week I was uncharacteristically creative with the lime cream in meringue shells. I hope that creativity strikes again soon, but this week I just wanted to get some chocolate into my body. One night I thought I’d make these brownies after dinner but then looked at the recipe and was distressed by the time it would take to mix, bake, and chill them. I ended up eating a chunk of Trader Joe’s chocolate with some peanut butter on it, followed by a chaser of chocolate chips. It’s not usually this bad, but sometimes it just is.

The next day, with a clear head and some midday free time, I made the brownies.


I should mention that this is a recipe made for Tuesdays with Dorie and it was selected by Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell. Thanks Melissa! Check her blog to take a peek at the recipe; she’ll have it posted today.

What I did:

  • I cut the recipe in half and baked it in a 6″ round pan. The pan was a little small for half the amount, but it was the closest I had.
  • I used low-fat cream cheese (neufachel).
  • I used Guittard 72% chocolate.
  • I skipped the sour cream topping. This was so pretty and swirly that I didn’t want to cover it with topping!

How it went: Both parts (brownie and cheesecake) went together pretty quickly. I melted the butter and chocolate in the microwave instead of over a double-boiler and it worked out fine. Even the swirling went fine. I’m glad I waited until I had a clear head to make this! Here it is ready to bake.


How it tasted: I thought it was just OK. I liked the flavor of the cheesecake, but the brownie just didn’t have enough chocolate oomph. The brownie part was dry, which may have been due to overbaking. The cheesecake seemed to be the right consistency, but I may have thrown off the baking time by using a too-small pan. My husband liked it but also thought the chocolate flavor didn’t come through. His nutshell review was “good concept; needs tweaks.” But that’s the over-critical analysis; it was tasty and we were more than happy to eat it! And it looks so cool!

When we made the Brownie Buttons, Nancy asked if I’ve tried the Baked brownies or the Sharffen Berger Essence of Chocolate brownies. I haven’t and now I want to! There are a lot of brownie recipes out there and even though I have a go-to recipe, I’d like to have more in my repertoire. But no, I’m not going to start a separate blog about brownies. That’s been done, and Megan does it better than I could do it.

Would I make this again?: While I liked the brownie and cheesecake combination, I will have to continue my brownie quest. When I have more brownies under my belt (literally and figuratively), I’d like to come back to this and make it with a different brownie.

Fellow TWD members: I’m offline right now, so I won’t get around to look at your brownies this week. I will try to catch up when I’m back at it!


Tuesdays With Dorie: Brownie Buttons

August 11, 2009

This week’s recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie is Brownie Buttons, selected by Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen. Head over to their blog for the recipe or look on page 106 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. Here are mine…cute as a button!

Brownie Buttons

What I did: I followed the recipe though I didn’t include the optional orange zest. I made a full batch because it was a pretty small batch (and I didn’t want to do the math to divide it in half!).

How it went: Quick and easy! Everything gets mixed in one saucepan; no special equipment needed and not a lot of dishes. I used my mini-muffin pan, which is old (or should I say retro? antique?) and an odd size: 9 minis, and I don’t know how the size compares to a new mini muffin pan. After I filled the 9 minis, I put the rest of the batter in 3 standard-size muffin cups. It worked out great because I put the larger ones in the freezer for something I’m planning to make in the near future.


When these were in the oven, I didn’t think they were going to turn out. They got very bubbly – especially the larger ones – and seemed to be kind of boiling. But a few minutes later, they looked better and after cooling a little bit, they came right out of the pan. Instead of dipping the brownies in white chocolate, I put a blob on top of each one.

How it tasted: These were chocolaty and moist. The white chocolate I used was pretty tasty on its own, but I don’t think it added much to the brownies. My husband ate one and said “it’s just a brownie.” He liked them, but I think he now expects more wow factor from my baked goods.

Would I make this again?: Although these were good, there are other brownie recipes that I prefer (such as the other two brownie recipes I’ve made recently). The mini muffin pan idea was fun though – I just may use that idea in the future!


Taste of Home Brownies

July 12, 2009

I didn’t plan on making brownies so soon after I made these for Tuesdays With Dorie, but I had brownies on my mind and I wanted to bring something to a small gathering over the weekend. These are my “go to” brownies; I’ve been making these for quite a few years. They’re just right for my tastes: dense and moist but not totally solid. Although they’re called cake brownies, I just don’t think of them as a “cakey” brownie. You know the type: you pick up a brownie at a pot luck, bite into it, and it’s like a flat piece of cake. Very disappointing. These are not those brownies! But they are also not ultra-dense fudgey brownies.


If I’ve learned anything from reading a lot of baking blogs, it’s that people are highly opinionated about brownies and chocolate chip cookies. We have our opinions in my household too: I vote for these and my husband votes for my recent Tuesdays With Dorie brownies. But we’re really splitting hairs here – we both like both brownies a lot. Life’s too short to just have one brownie recipe, right?


Moist Cake Brownies

from Taste of Home Annual Recipes 1999

My modifications are in red italics

2/3 cup (10 2/3 Tablespoons) butter (I used unsalted)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (I used all semisweet chips)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (I omitted the nuts)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13″x9″ pan or coat it with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in cocoa and oil until smooth. Cook and stir over low heat until cocoa is blended. Remove from heat; stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to cocoa mixture. Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts, if using).

Spread batter in pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Cut and serve when brownies are completely cooled. Enjoy!

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